Coronavirus recovery: are constructive talks enough?
The EU's video summit on the details of the EU's coronavirus rescue package ended without concrete results on Friday. The participants nonetheless expressed satisfaction with the constructive atmosphere. Over the next few weeks intense negotiations aimed at resolving the contentious points are to take place, probably with participants meeting in person once more. Not all commentators are as patient as the leaders appear to be.
Return to rationality
Although the summit didn't bring a breakthrough an important step forward was made, broadcaster Deutschlandfunk comments:
“None of the 27 leaders threatened today to veto the gigantic financial package which Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is proposing. ... Despite the dimensions of these sums the member states discussed the matter in a manner that was level-headed, rational, tactical, in short, thoroughly political. Things were quite different just a few weeks ago. ... Now compromises are being fought for with dogged persistence until every head of government can tell his voters 'We didn't do badly.' This process must now be tackled swiftly. And it requires political leadership. So it's only fitting that Germany is taking over the Council presidency in two weeks' time.”
Peace and freedom have their price
A free Europe is worth all the cost and effort, Sydsvenskan writes in the hopes of a satisfactory agreement:
“Mutual dependence as the basis for peace, that is the EU. In a world that has more and more authoritarian states, the countries of Europe must stand together. They must campaign for the liberal-democratic world order and the climate. No one is strong alone. We must face the tasks ahead as a team. Cooperation has a high price. But skimping now could well turn out to be even more costly.”
Abolish the unanimity rule!
La Stampa's editor-in-chief Massimo Giannini pins his hopes on Angela Merkel:
“It's up to her to overcome the resistance of the satellite countries [Denmark, Sweden, Austria and the Netherlands] and oblige them not to weaken the fund either quantitatively or qualitatively. It's up to her to overcome the zero-sum game of vetos and counter-vetos and - once and for all - push through the only reform that can allow Europe to live its 'Hamilton moment' (named after the founding father who convinced the US states to unite and mutualise their debt) and overcome the rule of unanimous voting which paralyes every decision of the European Council. ... The chancellor has a unique opportunity: the German EU Council Presidency, which begins on July 1 and is the most important of the past twenty years.”
Frugal four can be satisfied
The reservations of the "frugal four" were certainly echoed at the video summit, Jyllands-Posten concludes:
“It is currently the fashion among those who are concerned with the EU, also in Copenhagen, to portray the situation as if the frugal four - the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark and Austria - had already suffered a defeat and are now doing all they can to cover it up. But there is not much to suggest that this is true. First of all the EU Commission has supplemented the original Franco-German proposal of an aid fund which would simply distribute the money with another initiative under which the money wil be granted as loans - a clear concession to the wishes of the four. In addition, at Friday's summit the desire to develop tough criteria for granting coronavirus aid was expressed.”